It was just a matter of time until Paul Pogba commanded a fee responsible for breaking the all-time transfer record. After a summer filled with flirting, Manchester United finally scooped the prodigious midfielder from Juventus for a record-breaking sum in 2016. It's fair to assume that fee will remain tops for a while, but you never know in today's wild windows. With money on the mind, here’s a look at the most expensive all-time transfers in soccer. (Note: Reported transfer amounts are in euros)
Man Utd via Getty ImagesJohn Peters
Zinedine Zidane: Juventus to Real Madrid, €75M (2001)
A “Galactico” in every sense of the word, Zidane joined Real from Juventus in 2001. The Frenchman cemented his spot in club history with a game-winner in the 2002 Champions League final for Los Blancos. With 49 goals and 57 assists in La Liga during his Real Madrid career, Zizzou still contributes to the success of the club – now working as the club’s manager.
Angel Di Maria: Real Madrid to Manchester United, €75M (2014)
Manchester United signed Di Maria from Real Madrid for a tidy fee of €75m, a record for a British club. Di Maria left Real after four years with the club and lots of success, but ultimately flopped with the Red Devils. The Argentina international found himself offloaded to Paris St. Germain the following summer.
Getty ImagesChris Brunskill
Kevin De Bruyne: Wolfsburg to Manchester City, €75.7M (2015)
After being run out of Chelsea in the winter window of 2014, De Bruyne put his skills on display with Wolfsburg before making a return to the Premier League. The 2015 Footballer of the Year in Germany has since held his own, scoring 7 goals and 9 assists in his first 25 appearances.
Getty ImagesJulian Finney
James Rodriguez: AS Monaco to Real Madrid, €79.8M (2014)
Rodriguez burst onto the worldwide scene after Colombia’s success at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately for James and Real Madrid, the attacking midfielder has yet to duplicate that success with the Spanish club. Time will tell if he can finally find a spot in the starting XI or if he needs a change of scenery.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Luis Suarez: Liverpool to Barcelona, €81.7M (2014)
Barcelona broke the bank to sign Suarez despite the striker’s baggage in 2014. The Uruguayan faced a worldwide soccer ban after a biting incident in the World Cup in Brazil, but Barcelona still flashed enough cash to sign him from Liverpool. Despite missing a significant portion of his first season at Barca, he’s paired with Lionel Messi and Neymar to form one of the world’s most feared attacking fronts.
Getty ImagesAlex Caparros
Neymar: Santos to Barcelona, €86.2M (2013)
Much has been made about the actual fee Barcelona paid Santos for Neymar in 2013, but in the end Barca got their man. The Brazilian eased into the side during his first season, but really burst onto the scene in Barcelona’s treble-winning season of 2014-15 with 39 goals in all competitions. Alongside Messi and Suarez, Neymar makes up one prong of the vaunted “MSN” trident.
AFP/Getty ImagesLLUIS GENE
Gonzalo Higuain: Napoli to Juventus, €90 (2016)
Juventus pulled off a monster coup signing Higuain from Napoli in the summer of 2016. The move had a two-fold effect, strengthening Juve while also damaging their Serie A rivals. The price tag for the Argentina striker was steep, but with 36 Serie A for Higuain goals in 2015 ... Juventus were happy to pay the big release clause. It remains to be seen if Pipita will deliver the Old Lady an adequate return on investment.
Getty ImagesMaurizio Lagana
Cristiano Ronaldo: Manchester United to Real Madrid, €94M (2009)
One of the best players of his generation, Ronaldo’s €94 million transfer to La Liga giants Real Madrid in 2009 shattered the record at the time. Fortunately for Los Blancos, the Portuguese has been worth every cent paid. Ronaldo guided Real Madrid in their quest to win the elusive La Decima in Champions League, then followed it up with another UCL triumph. In just his seventh season after joining the club, Ronaldo became Real Madrid’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Gareth Bale: Tottenham to Real Madrid, €100.8M (2013)
Not content with already having shattered the transfer record by signing Ronaldo, Real Madrid went ahead and did it again with the monster purchase of Bale from Spurs. After a relative slow start in the Spanish capital, the world’s most expensive player in Spain has partnered with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to keep the trophies rolling in for Los Merengues. A fixture on the right wing for Real Madrid, Bale has helped win two Champions League trophies in his first three seasons.
AFP/Getty ImagesPIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU
Paul Pogba: Juventus to Manchester United, €105M, (2016)
Manchester United's courtship of Pogba during the summer of 2016 dominated the transfer talk. After much back-and-forth, Juventus relented and Pogba returned to United amid a veritable parade of fanfare. It took a record-breaking fee to pry him from the Serie A side's clutches, though. No matter to United and their fans. They wanted Pogba back, and they finally got him.